Worry Casts Long Shadows
  Vijai P. Sharma, Ph.D
 "Worry casts long shadows of small things," a Swedish proverb says.  We, worriers, are like small children who take shadows for real objects and get scared. The old meaning of "to worry" was "to gnaw," that is, to cut, bite, and wear away bit by bit.  Such is the work of worrying on the worrier's sense of inner security and peace of mind. Worrying has a somewhat repetitive and obsessive quality about it.  Worrier is obsessed with the negative outcomes and pitfalls and "ruminates" over them.  Worrying, like rumination, is to chew over and over again what has already been chewed.    

 Hallowell, a psychiatrist and author of "Driven To Distraction" fame says that worrying is the disease of imagination.  A worrier imagines every misfortune that might befall, errors, accidents, and all possible things that can go wrong       

 What to do about worrying?  Carl Jung once said that you can't change anything unless you accept it.  So don't deny or hide your worrying.  Talk about how exactly you worry, reason, and think to multiply the possibilities of what can go wrong.  Do constructive thinking.  Get facts that contradict your apprehensions.  For example, "Why should I worry about boss firing me.  Boss told me just today that I am doing a great job."  
 If you are a chronic worrier and through practice of may years have gotten really good at it, know that your mind has learned to have "worry spasms," or a kind of "brain hiccups" that just refuse to quit.  When the first worry thought strikes you, you have just a few seconds to break the chain of worry thoughts before your entire mind gets involved in it. 

Once your entire mind gets involved with worrying thoughts, you are in the "worry grip" that you can't relax for next several hours or the whole night.  Those few seconds are critical to break the chain because as your mind gets involved in it, body too gets involved.  Body starts pumping adrenaline under pressure which keeps fueling worrying thoughts non stop. 

As soon as you catch the first worry thought, challenge it.  Say something positive to yourself right away.  Offer yourself the facts that negate a low negative possibility.  Give counter evidence of what your worry thought is asking you to imagine.  Challenge "what if" thoughts with "so what" or "how so" thoughts. Reverse the tables on your worry thoughts; imagine all possible outcomes instead of the negative outcomes.  
Writing your worries even in the middle of the night is good.  Worriers don't want to get out of their bed to write their worries down because they are concerned of becoming wide awake and not be able to fall off to sleep again for the rest of the night.  Don't worry, you're gonna stay awake anyway.  So, if you've tried everything else and you still can't shake off your worry thoughts, it's better to get out of the bed, sit at the desk or on your sofa and write them down. When you write them down, read them to yourself.  You may often find how wildly exaggerated your worryful imagination is.  

In some cases, worrying is just a symptom of an anxiety disorder, depressive disorder, or a result of a deeply painful life event, such as betrayal of trust, abandonment, severe humiliation or abuse.  Get an evaluation for a possible underlying disorder.  If there is a traumatic event in your past that keeps gnawing at you, work through it with a counselor.  Sometimes, the way to overcome pain is through it and not around it.  
Worrying gets you trapped inside yourself and strips away your support system.  Worriers get so involved in the act of worrying, they don't have time to connect with others.  Don't let worrying isolate you from people who love and like you. 
When you write down what is worrying you.  Write down three actions you can take.  Write down when and how immediately you can take those actions.  Then act on them right away.   
Our concept of wealth is highly superficial.  What we consider as our "assets" and "possessions" happen to be strictly external and material.  Our true wealth is intangible and often hidden from us.  But how can something that we can't see and touch be of any significant value to us?  As a result, we spend our entire energy in seeking possessions such as, a business, real estate, equipment, raw material, etc., and neglect to develop the personal properties because they don't have an instant dollar value.  We calculate our net worth by our bank balance, stocks, bonds, equity, etc.  But, the fact is, our tangible assets are our less valuable assets.  Our personal assets are of far greater value, but they are abstract, intangible, internal, the kind that are hard to see.  So, we don't utilize them fully.  Personal wealth remains hidden and uncashed for ever.  Tap these resources and you may generate riches beyond your imagination.       

 For example, you often hear the profundity, "what is in the name?"  Well, name is wealth.  Once a person has made a "name," he or she can sell it, literally, for millions of dollars.  Popular athletes, singers, actors, and other celebrities generate enormous wealth by endorsing products and giving permission to use their name.  If we really like a person, we are prepared to give him or her some of what we have.  Once our basic needs are satisfied, we spend money largely for fondness of, or recognition received from other people.  Individuals and corporate America successfully market and cash in on our preferences and public appeal.     

 Many business pundits claim that the biggest asset of a company is not its physical assets, but its "reputation," that is, people's perception of, and their feeling about that company.  Billions of dollars are spent in protecting reputation and building goodwill which exists purely in the minds of people, giving a new meaning to the saying, "It's all in the mind."   Money is first generated in the mind and then it is "materialized" in the physical form.   

 Consumer research indicates that a buyer has to like a sales person in order to buy from him or her.  If you don't like a sales person you won't buy regardless of the quality of the product he or she is trying to sell.  As a sales person, your success depends on your personal likeability, trustworthiness,  and the confidence you inspire in your prospective buyers.  In all professions, businesses, and jobs, it is the personal qualities and characteristics, skills, and knowledge that bring success and wealth.  Such is the power of personal wealth.
 When we think of getting rich, we look grudgingly at the lucrative businesses and occupations others are doing.  We believe that the only way to make big bucks is to own or join one of those businesses or occupations. This often remains a wishful thinking and next morning we are back to doing what we always had been doing.  Some try to imitate others, but not having the personal qualities and natural talent for it, fail.  Three out of five new businesses close down within five years.  Could it be that the seekers of wealth are "barking up the wrong tree?"   

 This reminds me of a story from the Middle East.  In the story, one night, Mullah Nasiruddin, the "wise idiot" is looking for a lost "dinar" (Persian money) under the street light-post.  A passer-by joins Mullah in his search, but the dinar is not to be found.  The passer-by finally asks Mullah,  "Where exactly did you drop the dinar?"  Mullah points to a corner on the other side of the street   The totally confused passer-by asks Mullah, "Then,  why on earth are you looking for it, here?"  Mullah answers, "Because, it's dark over there."  A lot of us, like the Mullah, avoid looking for wealth inside because there is more light outside.  

 We look at what everyone else is doing, so we can do the same.  That is a formula for mediocrity.  A creative entrepreneur who has amassed many "first-time" honors to his credit, advises, "Look at what everyone else is doing and do something else."  Let that "something" be what comes to you naturally, what you are cut out for, and what you are good at.  That will be your "thing."  If you do your thing, you are more likely to succeed  in your endeavor. 

 Your characteristics, qualities, skills, and style, constitute a combination that is truly unique.  Were there 55 billion people on this earth, there was a chance that someone out there would be like you.  We don't have 55 billion people on this planet, as yet.  So we will all remain unique in our life-time.  In the following article I will discuss the techniques by which you can identify your unique personal assets.  Remember everyone has a secret wealth.  Your secret wealth is you!   

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